Hong Kong police sprayed pepper on protesters to disperse them in the heart of the city’s financial district on December 22, after a massive peaceful rally in support of China’s ethnic Uighurs turned chaotic.
Police who were out in dozens marched across a public square looking over to Hong Kong’s harbour to face off with protesters who were throwing rocks and glass bottles on them. In the afternoon, more than 1,000 people conducted a rally peacefully, waving posters and Uighur flags, as they took part in the latest demonstration over six months of turmoil.
A crowd full of all age group, dressed in black with a mask on their face to shield the identities, held up placards saying “Free Uyghur, Free Hong Kong” and “Fake ‘autonomy’ in China results in genocide”.
The protest started after a midfielder named Mesut Ozil created a tumult in China by reprimanding the country’s policies toward the Muslim ethnic minority in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. Mr. Ozil, a German Muslim of Turkish origin, tweeted that Uighurs were “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised both China’s steady hand in Xinjiang and the comparative silence of Muslims in response. “I think basic freedom and independence should exist for all people, not just for Hong Kong,” stated a 41-year-old woman, surnamed Wong, who attended the protest along with her husband.
UN specialists and activists allege that at least 1 million Uighurs and members of other mostly Muslim minority groups have been detained in camps in Xinjiang since 2017 under a campaign that has been condemned by the United States and other countries as well, but China continued it.
On the other side, Beijing covered it by saying that the center is nothing but built to provide vocational training to help stamp out separatism and to teach new skills to the new generation. It denies any mistreatment of Uighurs. Protests in Hong Kong are now in their seventh month and on a high peak. Many inmates are angry at what they see as Chinese interfering in the freedoms assured to the former British colony when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and now they are backing off from their promises.
China took a firm stand and said it is committed to the ”one country, two systems” formula put in place at that time and has blamed foreign forces for fomenting unrest, and the country was in peace before any wrong pump was pulled into them. On December 21, during the Hong Kong protest, police invaded several shopping malls, chasing off and arresting demonstrators, urging their demands in the peak shopping weekend before Christmas, and wrecking the celebration month.
The protests, which started in June, have pushed Hong Kong’s economy into recession and causing much harm to retailers and businesses as they all have been walloped as tourists stay away amid transport disrupted.
Paul Chan, the city’s Financial Secretary, in his blog on December 22, stated that there could be a wave of business closures in the new year if market conditions do not improve.
He stated that many companies are striving to maintain the businesses in the market, and he hoped the violence would stop.